Fireplaces are supposed to add beauty to our homes and be the centerpieces of the room; however, nothing can detract from a beautiful fireplace quite like a foul odor. Unfortunately, most chimney odors are the result of a more serious problem; while an air freshener might be able to temporarily mask the problem, a chimney professional is often needed to diagnose the cause of a smelly chimney.
Common causes of chimney odors
There are a number of different factors that can cause chimney odors. Because of this, it is important to have your chimney inspected by a certified chimney sweep in order to uncover the source of your chimney odor. Below are three of the most common causes of smelly chimneys.
- Animals: Birds, raccoons, squirrels, and other small animals all love to find their way into chimneys for warmth, shelter, or a safe place to nest. Animals can cause a whole host of chimney odors – as well as chimney and fireplace damage – with their nesting materials, food sources, or droppings. However, the most serious and foul-smelling animal odors can come from trapped animals who have died in the chimney. These sharp, foul, or rotting smells can do more than affect your home’s air supply; the presence of an animal in the chimney can also expose your family to a whole host of bugs, bacteria, and other microbes.
- Creosote: Creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of fuel burning fires that can accumulate in your flue. Because it is extremely flammable, creosote should be removed by a certfieid chmney sweep during an annual chimney sweep and inspection. In addition to increasing your risk of accidental chimney fire, creosote can also cause smoky or sharp chimney odors. Creosote chimney odors are often worse in warm or humid weather and may not be noticeable when the weather is cool.
- Water entry: While water can be extremely damaging to your exterior masonry, it can also wreak havoc on your fireplace system. In addition to damaging many chimney and fireplace components, water entry from a leak can also cause chimney odors. Dank, damp, or musty odors from the chimney are often the result of a leak somewhere in the chimney system; the odor is sometimes the only that a chimney leak is present.
More so than the other sources of chimney odors, water entry is a major concern because it can cause the formation of mold or mildew in your chimney. Not only can this cause extremely unpleasant odors, but it can also negatively affect the air quality in your home. Young children, the elderly, or those with respiratory issues such as asthma are at particular risk of problems caused by mold or mildew growth in the chimney.
If you have a stinky chimney, don’t just light a scented candle and hope it will fade over time. Instead, call one of the experts at Lords Chimney to help diagnose – and get rid of – the cause of your chimney odors.